A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Still-Enduring Cult

Dana Mathewson

Stephen King's new Kennedy assassination novel attempts to get at the real meat, but falls victim to the myths.

First, it presupposes that Kennedy was a very good president, and might have been a great one if he'd lived. Not so.

Another myth is that Kennedy would have kept us out of Vietnam, whereas he, more than anyone else, got it rolling; and it was his people who ran it under Johnson.

The third myth is that Kennedy was a martyr to "right-wing unreason" -- a strange accusation considering that Oswald was a leftist freak -- "a pro-Castro agitator whose other assassination target was the far-right segregationist Edwin Walker."

Good article -- I recommend it highly. Most of us are heartily tired of all things Kennedy. But as the author says, "This last example [assigning Kennedy's murder to right-wing hate] suggests why the J.F.K. cult matters — because its myths still shape how we interpret politics today. We confuse charisma with competence, rhetoric with results, celebrity with genuine achievement. We find convenient scapegoats for national tragedies, and let our personal icons escape the blame. And we imagine that the worst evils can be blamed exclusively on subterranean demons, rather than on the follies that often flow from fine words and high ideals.

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